Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

September 8, 2012

Oysters and sweet potatoes

My fictional friend Emil and I were hiking down the Walk of Excellence, trying to keep the cholesterol down. Emil had been tracking the news. I began the conversation.

“They have done a lot with the Walk and the Wildcat. Those Wildcat Guardians volunteer their time to clean things up, and with the city’s amazing efforts, things sure look good.”

Emil seemed to take the conversation in a completely different direction. At first I didn’t understand the connection, but I did later.

“Ed, one thing I hate to give up because of cholesterol is seafood. Sure, we are supposed to eat lots of fish, but shrimp, squid, clams and oysters are a no-no. Do you miss oysters?”

“No, I hate the things,” I replied. “I loved shrimp and squid, and I liked clams, but never cared for mussels or oysters. What makes you bring that up?”

“Well, I’ve been reading about how they are going to use oysters to filter out water pollution. I brought the Associated Press article with me:

“‘Marine scientists, planners and government officials say millions of mollusks planted in polluted waters off New York and other cities could go a long way toward cleaning up America’s urban environment. The oyster and other shellfish can slurp up toxins and eliminate decades of dirt.

“‘The oyster is the perfect aquatic engineer for the job. It pumps water to feed, retains any polluted particles and releases the rest — purified. Each one filters about 50 gallons of water a day.’”

“That’s amazing!” I replied. “If we ever need to clean up our waters, we can load ’em up with mollusks.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” added Emil. Cleaner water and better food – that should cut down some medical problems all right.”

“Funny how you bring up stuff I want to talk about, Emil. You must read my mind.” Of course that’s easy since Emil is a projection of my mind!

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